Race Preparation and taper are important ingredients for a swimmer preparation for competitions of varying levels. Experts advice that swimmers should have two ‘peaks’ — one for minor meets and another for major national or international meets.
The needs during the taper period are:
- The swimmer should prepare himself mentally. He should think about the race or races he will be taking part and he should discuss his/her strategy with the coach.
- Steal as much rest as possible so that the body recovers from periods of strenuous training.
- Sleep at least relax for longer duration than has been the case when in training.
- Concentrate on starts and turns.
- Swim in burst concentrating on starts and more sprints.
- Train less, In fact only as much as the coach advises.
Every swimmer, like any other sportsperson, has different temperament and mental attitude. Some competitors prefer long taper both in term of duration of period and sessions; other like to have crisp taper. Here again the coach should be consulted although it is basically the decision of the swimmer as to what kind of tapering suits him/her.
Whatever the tapering, the all-important principle is that the competitor should be mentally alert while physically relaxed.
The Race Day
The day of an important are is taken differently by a competitor. Some are jittery and unduly tense; others adopt the attitude of devil-may-care. Both kinds of competitors have, of course, butterflies in their stomachs. But efforts should be made to calm down or soothing the nerves, to extent it is possible.
The do’s and don’ts are:
- Sleep as much as possible.
- Avoid fat in the final night meal, which should have carbohydrates in larger quantity than protein.
- The breakfast should be light and lunch(in between heats and finals) should also be light but they should contain nothing but carbohydrates.
- A relaxed walk and endeavouring to take the mind off swimming but always concentrating on the race about to start will help.
- Have a good warm up(15-20 minutes) before the start of the race. Stay warm by wearing track-suit and other garments in accordance with weather.
- Stay alert at the pool so that announcements are heard.
- hen called, swim the race through your mind which, Let it be reiterated, plays a vital part in the performance of the competitor.
- Put what your coach has to teach while during practice.
- HAVE SOME FUN! Enjoy yourself and enjoy the process.
- Neglect to stay warm. Do not take your tracksuit off too early.
- Over-use warm-up workout.
- Report late for the race.
- Before starting the race don’t take water in excess.